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Napa Valley Notes and Quotes: St. Helena's McClain 3rd in opener for Oregon women runners

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Harper McClain, a freshman, took third place for the University of Oregon women’s cross country team as it began the season at the Lewis & Clark Opener on Sept. 1 at Lake Oswego, Ore.

McClain, a 2021 St. Helena High graduate, had a time of 16:41.8 for the 3-mile race.

McClain had a stellar prep career, finishing seventh in the 3,200 meters (10:29.68) at the 2019 CIF State Track and Field Championships and winning the Division 5 title at the 2019 CIF state cross country meet in a time of 17:13.4.

She won both the 1,600 and 3,200 races at the 2019 NCS Class A Championships.

McClain finished eighth in the 3,200 in a personal-record time of 10:28.83 at the 2021 Arcadia Invitational.

She won the 1,500 (4:36.38) and 3,000 (9:51.21) at the 2019 USA Track & Field National Junior Olympics.

She was also seventh at the 2020 AAU Cross Country National Championships.

***

August was a great month for Jason Anthony.

Anthony, a 2001 Justin-Siena High School graduate who played golf for the Braves and later Napa Valley College, advanced to the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship by finishing second in a qualifier at Oakdale Golf & Country Club on Aug. 23. He fired a 4-under-par 68 and was one of four players to move on to Sankaty Head Golf Club, in Siasconset, Mass., and Miacomet Golf Course, in Nantucket, Mass., for the U.S. Mid-Amateur, Sept. 25-30. It’s a U.S. Golf Association event.

Anthony, a Fairfield resident, also won his third Northern California Golf Association Valley Amateur Championship.

He was tied for eighth after a first-round 72 at Schaffer’s Mill Golf & Lake Club in Truckee on Aug. 30. He won it by shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the final round at Whitehawk Ranch Golf Club, located in Clio, on Aug. 31 and then secured the title – his second in a row – on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.

“Any win is satisfying, especially knowing you only have so many chances,” Anthony, who completed 36-hole regulation play at 3-under 139, said in a report at ncga.org. “NCGA wins are even more satisfying due to the strength of the fields and the venues. Ultimately too though, at the end of the day it’s about the camaraderie.”

Anthony — who played on Napa Valley College’s team that won the state title in 2003 at the California Community College Championships at Kings River Golf and Country Club in Kingsburg — came through with clutch shots late in the second round of the 17th annual event.

He eagled the par-5 18th hole by making a 25-foot putt.

He then birdied the first hole of a playoff, sinking a putt from 12 feet, to beat John McCord and Brett Viboch.

It was Anthony’s third NCGA Valley Amateur Championship title. It’s also his sixth NCGA crown.

He is now tied for seventh on the all-time NCGA win list, the organization said at ncga.org.

“I was really struggling earlier in the year for about three months. I couldn’t break par and was spinning my wheels,” he said. “Ultimately, when I get out on the course and the tourney is on the line, I find a way to get it done. That’s why I love competing.”

He is a two-time NCGA Player of the Year, winning the award in 2017 and 2019.

He plays out of Green Valley Country Club in Fairfield and The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

He played at Fresno State and was selected as the Bulldogs’ MVP.

***

Rico Abreu of St. Helena placed in World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series features races at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Washington.

He was 10th in a 30-lap race on Sept. 3 and earned $1,850.

Abreu was 10th and earned $1,850 in a 30-lap race on Sept. 4.

He placed 13th in a 40-lap feature race on Sept. 5 and won $1,200.

***

The Pacific Union College women’s soccer team has been picked to finish 14th in a poll of California Pacific Conference coaches, the league reported in a story at calpacathletics.com on Aug. 20.

***

The Pacific Union College men’s soccer team has been picked to finish 14th in a poll of California Pacific Conference coaches, the league reported in a story at calpacathletics.com on Aug. 20.

***

Issay Bravo of Pacific Union College was named as the Offensive Player of the Week for men’s soccer in the California Pacific Conference, the Cal Pac announced in a report at calpacathletics.com on Sept. 7.

“Issay Bravo of Pacific Union tallied a pair of scores in a 3-2 win against NCAA Division II Academy of Art. The freshman from Stockton has helped the Pioneers to wins in two of their first three matches, giving them the best start in program history,” the Cal Pac said.

***

Olivia Jessee of Pacific Union College was named as the Offensive Player of the Week in the California Pacific Conference for women’s soccer, the Cal Pac announced in a report at calpacathletics.com on Sept. 7.

“The freshman midfielder from Mount Pleasant, Utah has been a big reason for the first-year program’s 2-1 start,” the Cal Pac said.

***

Napa High’s Caitlyn Newburn and St. Helena High’s Aribella Farrell were named to 2021 all-state medium schools and small schools for softball by Cal-Hi Sports in a report at calhisports.com on Aug. 25.

Newburn, a junior, was named first-team medium schools as a catcher.

Farrell, a sophomore, was named second-team small schools as a pitcher/multi-purpose player.

***

Caitlyn Newburn, a junior catcher for the Napa High softball team, was named first team 2021 all-state underclass by Cal-Hi Sports, it was announced in a report at www.calhisports.com on Aug. 19.

***

Nicholas Young of Napa won the boys 16-18 division title of the Foxtail Junior Championship in July.

Young fired a 3-over-par 74 in the Junior Golf Association of Northern California event on the South Course at Foxtail Golf Club in Rohnert Park.

***

Hannah Chau, a junior, finished third overall and set a 4,000-meter school record for the UC Irvine women’s cross country team at the Anteater Opener on Sept. 1 at the ARC Fields in Irvine.

Chau, a Justin-Siena graduate who is from Fairfield, had a time of 14:11.0.

***

Julia Sangiacomo is off to a very good start as a junior outside hitter for the Santa Clara University volleyball team.

Sangiacomo, a Justin-Siena graduate who is from Sonoma, has 61 kills on a .244 attack percentage, 28 digs, five service aces, two block assists and 67 points.

Santa Clara has played in the Oregon Invitational at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore., and the Aggie Invitational in Davis.

***

In his first season as the team’s manager, Kris Negron of Napa has the Tacoma Rainiers at 63-44 and in first place in the Triple-A West Division.

Tacoma is the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

Negron played for four organizations during his six-year major league career. He was with the Cincinnati Reds (2012, 2014, 2015), Arizona Diamondbacks (2017, 2018), Seattle (2018, 2019), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2019).

He played in 170 games, compiling a .221 batting average with nine home runs, 32 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

Negron retired after the 2019 season.

Negron has been in professional baseball the last 15 years. He was selected by the Boston Red Sox during the seventh round of the 2006 draft.

There's no shortage of talk about the well-being of Olympians. Our lives are more valuable than the medals that we have, said U.S. triathlete Morgan Pearson It is ok sometimes to sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself," explained U.S. gymnast Simone Biles.  But how do athletes keep their mental health...healthy? Its more than just going to therapy, according to Chelsi Day. I think it might be that I need the time to take care of myself," she said. "I need to engage in pleasurable things, things that make me happy, volunteering, knitting, whatever, something that helps my mind slow down. Day is a sports psychologist who works with college athletes at The Ohio State University. She says high-level athletes may have different needs than the average person, who isnt competing each day. "For athletes who are constantly in the spotlight, they're constantly around people," Day sad. "They never get an alone moment. I'm not going to say, you know, way in your limited time alone, like spend time with some people. Now, I might talk with them strategically about the type of social support they're seeking, but some of those interventions are going to look a little bit different. The impact was noticeable for Katie Zaferes, a member of the U.S. Triathlon team. She opened up about her experience working with a psychologist.  It's been a game changer since Rio, because before Rio, I didn't work with a sports psychologist, and I kind of just, whenever I would freak out and get really nervous," she said. "I'd be like, 'Oh I want to talk to someone', at that moment, it was more reactive, rather than something I did routinely.  It's about building that culture before a situation happens, but then addressing it when it does with being understanding and listening, said Caroline Brackette. Caroline Brackette also works with athletes at Mercer University. In order to keep up with their mental health, she tells her students to check in frequently... It doesn't have to be to the point where they're in distress, but tips and tidbits, the same way that you would get for nutrition or things that you can do to improve your speed and agility, giving them the tools through educational sessions that will help them with their mental health. Those skills include visualizing where they want to be mentally and encouraging themselves through what is called positive self talk. But it also involves getting everyone connected to the athlete to buy in We also consult with coaches when coaches are like, 'I'm really struggling,' Day said. "And just not with their mental health, but really struggling, navigating something or helping an athlete communicate with their coach. That communication, according to Day, can help build up emotional support. We want those support networks, not necessarily to be an echo chamber, not necessarily to tell you what you want to hear, but that you know, that you can be truthful with, vulnerable with, honest with, and you trust that they have your back, she said. For newsy, Im Austin Kim.  

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